Overview of the calculus courses

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This page is a broad overview of the calculus sequences here at UW-Madison. Questions about these courses as well as affiliated courses at the 100 and 200 levels should be directed to our placement specialists.


The standard calculus sequence: 221-222-234

The standard calculus sequence is Math 221, 222, and 234. These courses cover all of the standard content of differential and integral single and multivariable calculus. The target student body for these courses are any student interested in any area of mathematics, engineering, and the biological, natural, and social sciences.


The calculus with precalculus sequence: 171-217-222-234

Students who place into precalculus, but wish to be exposed to calculus concepts sooner may register for the Math 171 and Math 217 sequence. These classes together cover the content of our own math 221 with 'just in time' precalculus review. Upon passing math 217, students can progress into math 222. Note that:

  • Math 171 is offered ONLY in the Fall.
  • Math 217 is offered ONLY in the Spring.
  • For the purposes of program requirements and/or prerequisites, students who complete both math 171 and 217 will be considered to have completed math 114 (precalculus) and math 221 (calculus 1)
    • This means that a student who has passed only 171 and not 217 may not enroll in a class which has either 114 or 221 as a prerequisite.

The Honors sequence: 375-376

The honors calculus sequence: Math 375 and Math 376 cover the content of multivariable calculus (Math 234), linear algebra (Math 341), and differential equations (Math 319), with an emphasis on theory, proofs, and proofwriting. Students who complete this sequence should be well prepared to enter into advanced math courses (those numbered above 500). The enrollment for these courses are usually well prepared first year students who already have the equivalent of calculus I and II on their record. For many freshmen, this means they received a 5 on both the AB and BC versions of the AP calculus exam in high school. Note that:

  • Math 375 is offered ONLY in the Fall.
  • Math 376 is offered ONLY in the Spring.
  • For the purposes of program requirements and/or prerequisites, students who complete only math 375 will be considered to have completed math 340/1 (linear algebra) only.
    • In particular, a student who has passed math 375 will NOT have credit for math 234 (calculus III).

Math 211 and 213

This sequence of calculus courses cover several topics of use to those in some specialized programs. However, none of these courses can be used as prerequisites for further math courses or any of math 221, 222, and 234. Students who are not certain about their major or program interests but wish to take calculus should consider one of the other sequences above.

Calculus course dependencies and prerequisites

The following diagram indicates the prerequisite paths for our calculus courses together with all related courses below 300. For a clickable version please visit this page.


Calculus map.png